India’s auto major, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) launched an automotive assembly plant in Welipenna, in the Matugama area recently.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd Managing Director Dr. Pawan Goenka, in Sri Lanka to launch the new plant, said “the inauguration of Mahindra automotive assembly plant in Welipenna is a significant milestone for Mahindra’s foray into the Sri Lankan market.”
“Sri Lanka is a key strategic market for us and we are now fully equipped to deliver products customised to local needs, on time. I would like to thank the Government of Sri Lanka for their unstinted support and am very optimistic that this new assembly plant will not only add to industrial growth in the country but will also generate significant employment opportunities at our plant and at the supplier’s end,” he said in a statement prior to opening the new assembly plant.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., a part of the USD 20.7 billion Mahindra Group, tied up with Ideal Motors of Sri Lanka to launch the new venture “Mahindra Ideal Lanka Pvt Ltd”.
The assembly plant rolled out its first product, the compact SUV, KUV100 and will roll out a slew of products over the next three years.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd Chief of International Operations Arvind Mathew said, “our partnership with Ideal Motors over the years has gone from strength to strength as we draw upon mutual synergies for a win-win association. I am confident that this new assembly plant will further maximise industrial activities, speed up operational effectiveness and enable us to serve our customers better in Sri Lanka”.
Ideal Motors Chair Nalin Welgama said “Ideal Motors and Mahindra have been partnering each other for a decade to deliver value to the customers of Sri Lanka. Today’s inauguration signals the epitome of our dream and ambition, which was to assemble a passenger vehicle locally, by partnering with an auto major like Mahindra, known for their tough and rugged DNA. This new partnership will enable Sri Lanka to ‘Rise’ and manifest its glory through the ‘Made in Sri Lanka’ route”
“We will first start with the KUV100 cars and then migrate to the other range of Mahindra vehicles which will suit the Sri Lankan market. We will be looking at increasing our initial investment as the market expands,” Welgama added.
“We in Sri Lanka can now proudly join an elite list of recognised car assemblers around the world,” said Ideal Motors Deputy Chair Aravinda de Silva. “A primary feature of this partnership between M & M and the Ideal Group is the transfer of the latest technology in the automobile industry to the talented Sri Lankan youth who will be the greatest beneficiaries of this venture.”
Mahindra Ideal Lanka will assemble the KUV100, a compact SUV, with a production capacity of 5,000 units per annum. Spread over 10+ acres, the plant boasts of state-of-the-art technologies and has been set up to further cement its relationship with its Sri Lankan customers.
Mahindra Ideal Lanka will localise four components, namely battery, tyres, seats and exhausts. The plant is expected to provide employment to the tune of 200 people directly and indirectly over the next two years. The ground breaking venture is a shift from the country’s assembly of Fiat and Mazda by the acclaimed businessman Upali Wijewardena. which were known as Upali Fiat and Mazda in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
“Upali Wijewardena received a CKD (Completely Knocked Down) kit from Mazda and assembled it, which was a great achievement at that time but things started to wither away as no auto major supported him, which made him end up as assembler. Today we are going away from assembly to a manufacture- assembly by a well-known global brand – Mahindra,” Welgama said.
Mahindra and Mahindra has factories in Egypt, South Africa and the USA. The Welipenna plant will be the latest addition to the plants of Mahindra.